I was in search of dunes. There is a large expanse of incredible sand dunes mid-way down the Oregon Coast. They stretch for more than 40 miles from Florence to south of Reedsport. I wanted a good vantage point from which to draw this unique landscape. And you’d think there would be plenty of viewpoints, but a few roads were closed because of flooding from the recent rains, and others were too rough for my low-clearance van to navigate. Finally, on my last day in the area I found a large parking lot with excellent views of the mountains of sand.
This is the largest area of sand dunes in North America. Millions of years of erosion from wind and rain have formed hills up to 500 feet above sea level. I think hot and dry when I think of sand dunes, but here they exist in a cool and wet climate. What fascinates me are the trees and shrubs that grow in the midst of the dunes, forming islands in the sand.
Drawing the trees and grasses is familiar territory. For the dunes themselves, I had to rely on watercolor to depict the smoothness and simplicity of the terrain. It was a cloudy day where the sky was darker than the land – something that doesn’t happen often.
As you might imagine the dunes are hugely popular with ATV lovers. Next time I come, maybe I’ll rent an ATV and go off to find even better vantage points. Wouldn’t that be fun!